A history of Chinese silk, £29.95
Height: 37.000 cm
Purchased at auction with funds from the Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund
Asia OA 2003,1129,1
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province,
Recently reunited with matching water fountain
This very rare Chinese porcelain basin was acquired by the British Museum in 2003. The Museum has held a matching water fountain for over one hundred years. The pair would have been used as a set, for the washing of hands after a meal.
Both pieces are
Both pieces were commissioned by the Dutch East India Company. They were probably designed by the successful Dutch painter and draughtsman Cornelis Pronk (1691-1759). The porcelain was made at Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, but decorated in the workshops in Canton, Guangzhou province. By the early eighteenth century the Company was losing its dominance over trade with China and commissioned Pronk's designs to try to strengthen its market position. Unfortunately the costs of producing wares such as this was so high that only small consignments were ever shipped, making them very rare today.
R. Krahl and J. Harrison-Hall, Ancient Chinese trade ceramics (National Museum of History, ROC, 1994)
S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)